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Can Guinea Pigs Have Corn (Serving Size, Hazards & More)

Tim Rhodes
Written by Tim Rhodes Last Updated: September 30, 2021

Corn is one of the staple diets offered to pet guinea pigs, so yes, guinea pigs can have corn.

Various corns including cracked, corn flakes, husks, and silks are the most preferred because of the beneficial nutrient values they contain.

Other types of feeds such as hay, commercial feeds, fruits, and vegetables supplement the corn to optimize the provision of the right food for your guinea pig.

Guinea pig is a small mammal with smooth or coarse hair, long or short, and displays rosettes.

Color varies from brown, white, black, and grey with a mixture of colors.

Can Guinea Pigs Have Corn?

Yes, feeding corn to your guinea pigs is safe.

However, you should know the exact serving size and the amount of corn you can give to your pets to keep them healthy.

Nonetheless, before we dive into an in-depth answer to the question of whether guinea pigs can eat corn, let’s talk more about guinea pigs and the things every guinea pig owner needs to know.

History and Behavior of Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs originate from the Andean region of South America, where they were domesticated for meat production.

Presently, guinea pigs are kept as domestic pets, laboratory, or livestock animals across the globe.

Guinea pigs are social and like interacting with people or other friendly guinea pigs.

They prefer close contact with other guinea pigs for warmth and to feel secure.

Guinea pigs breed all year-round, with a birth peak in the spring.

Typically they have a lifespan of up to eight years.

Guinea pigs communicate through various noises, including chirps, purrs, whistles, chutes, squeaks, and whines.

Whistles and chirps are used to indicate the presence of food; squeals, squeaks, and tweets are used to communicate danger or injury.

Commercial guinea pig food comes in the form of pellets and hay that provides vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy.

A combination of a variety of fresh foods, fruits, and vegetables is necessary for a guinea pig’s balanced diet.

Guinea pigs cannot synthesize vitamin C so they need to supplement this vitamin through raw and fresh foods.

Taking care of our little furry animals requires huge attention to what they feed on, cleaning their houses, and veterinary care.

Guinea pigs are strict herbivores; in captivity, they depend on humans for food.

Importance of Guinea Pigs to Humans

If you were looking forward to having an animal companion, the following are a few reasons, why the guinea pig is an ideal choice for people.

The purchasing cost is normally affordable to society; however, Alpacas, Himalayans, and Abyssinian tend to be more expensive.

Guinea pigs are vegans who eat a mix of hay and fresh produce.

They do not consume meat or dairy.

According to research done by the SPCA of British Columbia, Canada, feeding them with chocolate or potatoes may be toxic.

These creatures are generally clean and are natural to groom themselves.

Also, they like gentle brushing with a soft-bristle brush.

When kept clean, guinea pigs produce little to no odor.

These little pigs have good temperaments and amazing social creatures that love having companions at their homes.

Guinea pigs are intelligent.

They can be trained in simple tricks during their floor time.

Guinea pigs require attention from their caretaker as they tend to get lonely when no one is around.

Our little friends can distinguish your presence and become quickly familiar with your voice as they demonstrate various degrees of response.

Guinea pigs are often used as biomedical research investigations, for instance, tuberculosis, scurvy, and pregnancy complications.

Various Breeds of Guinea Pigs

We have 13 species of guinea pigs for those who own or are thinking of buying one.

All have a share of unique characteristics.

The most popular and common is the Satin American, also known as the English Cavy.

It lies flat to the body, and their coat is smooth and short.

We have the Abyssinian guinea pig with a distinct appearance of a shiny coat made up of multiple swirls of hair known as rosettes.

Peruvian satin coats are smooth and straight with the ability to grow several inches in length.

Its dense and soft coat requires regular grooming to trim the hair and keep it manageable.

The Silkie also referred to as the Sheltie, has a long and silky coat that grows backward from the head.

The other varieties include the crested guinea pig, teddy guinea pig, texel guinea pig, coronet guinea pig.

There are many color variations used to describe the pigs along with the breed.

While not as popular as cats and dogs are, guinea pigs are amazing pets and a great choice to ease into pet ownership.

Some certain guinea pigs are high maintenance and have to be groomed regularly, while others are easier to take care of.

The Pros and Cons of Owning a Pet Guinea Pig

Our little pigs are adorable, cute and make the owner feel better.

They have the capability of having a relationship with the family in a way that makes them a center of attraction in the house.

They are great companions for kids and teach them a sense of responsibility over time.

Guinea pigs have a great immune system; thus is safe for kids and toddlers to be around them.

They are gentle to their owners as they tend to adhere to routines.

Their vegetarian diet assists in following their vegan diet with ease.

These pets also have their downside.

Space is an issue as they require a larger space to run around to prevent them from getting aggressive.

Guinea pigs are also sensitive towards infections from worms and other pests, which leads to their fur falling out.

When not cleaned up, the cage smells bad; it is stinky and is irritating to people with sensitive noses.

The fact that these pigs grow and become an integral part of human social life, once they hit their life expectancy of six to eight years and pass on, ends up as a sad emotional story.

Diet of a Guinea Pig in the Wild

Guinea pigs are herbivorous, feed on fruits and vegetables, mainly depending on their habitat and food availability.

They also feed on fresh grass and other green leaves.

Wild guinea pigs are intelligent species when it comes to their choice of food.

Regularly change dietary patterns to suit the changing environment and availability of food in the ecosystem.

What Types of Food Domesticated Guinea Pigs Can Eat?

Guinea pigs feed on the hay, which is important to the pet’s diet.

It assists in proper digestion; hence its availability is vital.

It would be best if you bought fresh, clean, high-quality hay that is dry, sweet-smelling, and free from mold.

Specially formulated pellets sold as commercial guinea pig food is essential as it provides balanced nutrition.

The feeding instructions on the package serve as a guide on how to serve your pet.

Guineas can also have vegetables such as carrots, spinach, and fruits such as oranges and apples that provide vitamins and minerals needed for the guinea pig’s overall health.

Which Foods Guinea Pigs Cannot Eat?

Ideally, there are various reasons why some foods are not recommended to be given to your guinea pigs.

Some are choking hazards, lack nutritional value, and have a very high content of fat or sugar and others cause digestive issues such as bloating and gas.

Examples of these foods are chocolate or anything with caffeine, garlic, mushrooms, dairy products, bread, meat, etc.

The important factor is you should never feed your guinea pig any plants, grass, or flowers collected from your garden or yard.

Most of the time, they contain pesticides, the plants may also be toxic.

Avoid cereals as a variety of types are not good for guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs cannot eat meat since they are herbivores; hence cannot process the meat.

The guinea pig cannot digest cooked food.

Any potato product, unripe tomatoes, tomatoes, leaves, and stems should not be offered due to the toxins present that are harmful to your guinea pig’s health.

Is Corn Safe and Healthy for Guinea Pigs?

If you own a pet guinea pig, you may desire to know whether they can eat corn and how healthy and safe it is for them.

This article majorly deals with the safety and procedure of serving corn to guinea pigs.

Yes, it is safe to feed your guinea pig with corn.

Preference is feeding it raw and on the cob.

Some guinea pigs will respond positively and love the corn, while others may be completely disinterested.

The focus should be on serving raw corn since cooked cannot be digested, leading to health complications.

However, corn should not be a regular staple diet, rather offered as a treat once in a while.

Let us look at the different types of corn that guinea pigs feed on, the recommended serving ratio, and how you should carry out the feeding practice.

Remember to wash the corn thoroughly before feeding any part to your pet guinea pigs.

What Types of Corn Can Guinea Pigs Eat?

Guinea pigs love eating corn; however, it should only be offered as a treat periodically because of the high calories and carbohydrate content.

This is to avoid obesity and other related issues of weight gain and excess calories.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cracked Corn?

Corn kernels that have been dried are what is known as cracked corn.

They are cracked into small pieces although the sizes vary depending on the type of grinder used and the brand.

Generally, coarse grinding is the common one.

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Corn Flakes?

Corn flakes is a cereal breakfast made from toasting corn, then add another grain such as barley, a few vitamins, and other flavors.

They should be fed rarely on the flakes as they do not add beneficial nutrition to the guinea pigs.

They also have flavored additives with their high sugar levels.

Milk also should not be offered when serving corn flakes.

Guinea pigs cannot digest the milk’s proteins since they are lactose intolerant, causing distress, indigestion, gas, and bloating.

Corn chips and tortillas should be kept away from your pets.

Guinea pigs eat them whenever they access them, but these corn products contain high salt and flour content making them unsuitable for guinea pigs to consume.

What Are the Nutrients in Corn?

Corn kernels are high in sugar compared to vegetables.

The husks and silks majorly contain high fiber content with low sugars. The nutritional content of corn ration and amount to be fed can be served is mentioned hereafter.

Corn can be served 2-3 times a week on the cob.

Nutrients in 100 grams of corn

94 calories

73% water

21 grams carbohydrates

4.5 grams sugar

3.4 grams protein

1.5 grams fat

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin C 6.8mg

Calcium 2.0mg

Phosphorous 89mg

Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio 0.02:1

Corn Husks

Corn Husk provides a great variety of hay-based diets as it contains fiber and few calories.

The husk should be served together with other foods and routinely change the serving to keep our guinea pigs interested.

Organic corn cobs are suitable for obtaining your husk.

It is easy to rip the cob’s husk; therefore, you can serve a whole piece of husk at a time and store the remaining pieces of cob.

There are two ways you can feed your guineas these husks.

If you plan to feed them within the next few days, you place these husks and seal them to keep them tender.

If you want to preserve them for a longer period, you leave them out to dry before placing them in a bag for later use.

Why do Guinea Pigs Prefer Corn Husks?

Guinea pigs find the husks as the tastiest part of the corn cob.

Their high fiber content and nutritional value allow them to be fed daily to your pet.

The husks are a better alternative to chew toys.

The texture of corn husks is ideal, and its taste becomes a bonus.

How Often Should Guinea Pigs Have Corn?

Guinea pigs may stop eating as a response to the stress of new foods.

Introduction to feeds should be done gradually and with particular attention to the responses of the animal.

Hay is an important form of food enrichment for guinea pigs.

Encourages grazing behaviors and natural foraging traits.

Guinea pigs’ front teeth continue to grow throughout their lifetime; hard items such as corn maintain their teeth at length.

A low carbohydrate diet is the perfect one when it comes to a guinea pig.

Raw kernels on the cob can be fed 1-2 times a week to your guinea pig.

Other parts, such as the inner husk and corn silk can be given daily.

The outer husk is discarded because of the use of pesticides on them.

The middle part is thrown away as guinea pigs do not eat it.

How Should I Feed Corn to My Guinea Pigs?

The preferred way to serve the corn is on the cob with the silk and corn husk.

It provides foliage and extra nutrition, which provides fiber on a diet important for cavies digestion.

Guinea pigs also enjoy the individual yellow pieces and chunks, that is, the kernels of corn.

The kernel should be fed in small quantities since this is part of the vegetable with the most calories and water.

When fed in excess, it causes bloating.

If your guinea pigs indicate too much excess weight, corn serving should be limited.

Feeding your guinea pig with a whole cob creates a lot of fun and excitement as they unwrap their parcel to reach sweet kernels inside.

It is recommended that you cut the cobs into chunks about a quarter depending on the size of a guinea pig at a time.

What Are the Health Benefits of Feeding Corn to Guinea Pigs?

One of the benefits of your guinea pigs eating corn on the cob is it improves the blood.

Corn has iron and copper, which are essential minerals for the blood to be strong and healthy.

This strengthens and boosts the immune system of your guinea pig.

Iron, which is often in the red blood cells, and copper responsible for creating the cells prevent your guinea pig from getting anemic.

It provides energy and eliminates fatigue.

Corn on the cob is rich in proteins, fats, carbs, and calories.

Once the guinea pig feeds, they feel satisfied because of the components available.

Corn on the cob is rich in high levels of antioxidants.

These antioxidants strengthen and boost the immune system lowering the risk of guinea pigs getting the infection.

They also contribute to wellness and health improvements where your guinea pig does not age so fast.

What Are the Hazards of Feeding Corn to Guinea Pigs?

It is not encouraged to feed hard cracked corn to your guinea pig because they crack on teeth causing dental issues.

Digestive issues may arise to our pet when the corn fails to digest properly due to its hardness and dense nature.

There is the danger of choking when pieces get stuck on the guinea pig’s throat and cannot remove them.

Feeding your guinea over sweet corn can cause diabetes.

Too much corn means excess sugars that lead to diabetes risk.

Severe weight gain on the guinea pigs as corn contains high calorie and carbohydrate content when taken may lead to obesity.

It is because guinea pigs lack efficient metabolism.

The preferred diet is low in carb, low in protein, and high in fiber.

Corn contains elements such as calcium and phosphorus that may lead to urinary problems and other diseases.

What Are the Alternatives to Corn?

When changing the guinea pig’s diet, it should be done gradually to avoid distressing your pet with sudden changes providing room for perfect eating habits.

Provide an opportunity for your guinea pig to graze on grass.

If they lack a free-roaming safe enclosure, you can cut grass where it is safe and feed them.

Guinea pigs have unique digestive systems where their stomachs go through a double digestion process.

Hay supplies fiber to help in the digestion of food and prevent impactions.

At a young age, the guinea pigs feed on alfalfa hay, which contains a different balance of nutrients.

As they mature, they are introduced to timothy hay.

Guinea pigs can eat it nonstop with no worries of them getting fat since the digestive system uses it to move things along.

Do’s and Don’ts when Feeding Guinea Pigs

Avoid feeding your guinea pig with anything that has seeds.

They are unnecessary on the diet of the guinea pig and are prone to choking.

Vitamin-rich vegetables should not be replaced with any variety of brands available in the pet store.

The guinea pigs cannot eat rabbit, hamster, or gerbil food as their nutritional balance is different.

Too much pellet will make the guinea pig gain excess weight.

The hay fed to pigs should be placed on baskets to prevent it from getting contaminated by the guinea pigs’ waste that is unhygienic.

Guinea pigs should have a diet source of vitamin C since they cannot synthesize their own from other food substances.

Avoid sourcing grass, fruits, or vegetables that have been recently sprayed with any chemicals.

Clippings of lawnmowers should not be fed to the guinea pigs as they lead to gastrointestinal blockages.

Remains of uneaten food should clean off your guinea pigs’ house to prevent them from rotting and becoming moldy, harming the guinea pig.

Final Thoughts

The final answer is yes; guinea pigs can eat corn.

However, they are exceptions and restrictions.

One excellent thing you can do for your pet guinea pig is to feed them with a variety and abundance of fiber.

Husks serve best for this purpose, with guinea pigs grinding their teeth and chew on it just as they would hay.

Feeding your guinea pig with corn is beneficial in all perspectives, starting from the provision of required nutritional value and meeting the preference taste of our adorable guinea pig pet.

The various forms of corn, that is, dried corn, corn kernels, husks and silks, and corn flakes, should be offered to your guinea pig pet with a veterinary officer’s guidance to derive the best outcome from the feeds.

Ultimately regular rotation of the corn feeds, hay, commercial pellets feed, fruits, and vegetable combination serves as the recommended process of feeding your pet.


Tim Rhodes
Tim Rhodes

Hi there! My name is Tim Rhodes and I'm a guinea pig enthusiast through thick and thin. My mission is to teach others useful tips and tricks about these cute creatures. When I'm not writing, I enjoy kickboxing and work as an animal trainer.

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